MP for Weaver Vale, Mike Amesbury writes…
When we think about Christmas it probably conjures up images of gifts under the tree, turkey dinners and too many sweets.
But sadly, for many of my constituents, Christmas will be a time of hardship and hunger.
The Conservatives’ austerity agenda and mishandling of Universal Credit has unleashed a wave of poverty that wouldn’t look out of place in the type of Christmas portrayed by Charles Dickens.
Amidst all of this hardship though are stories of fellowship, togetherness and everyday humanity that – once you remove all the wrapping – are what Christmas should really be about.
Over this last year, whether it’s visiting schools and food banks, to charities and health care organisations, I’ve seen the very best of people, facing up to the challenges laid down with dignity, commitment and a passion born from their desire to serve our communities and make Weaver Vale a better place to live.
Nationally it has been a challenging time too.
In Westminster, the Brexit debates have rumbled on and on, plagued by gridlock and infighting in the Tory ranks as parliament tries to steer a course that will hopefully maximise protections for jobs, workers’ rights and businesses in our constituencies and throughout the whole of the United Kingdom.
Diplomatically, friends and foes alike have posed challenges of their own, and every one of us have found ourselves having to adjust to a fast-changing new world order.
As we turn the page to 2019, we still face many of these challenges, with the looming Brexit climax sure to dominate most of the headlines and our thoughts as we head into the new year.
But a new year also brings hope.
Indeed, one of the things I’ve been hugely encouraged by during my tenure as MP for Weaver Vale is the passion and drive of our young people.
When I visit schools in my constituency, I will often attend Q&A sessions with the pupils, and I never fail to be genuinely amazed and inspired by their levels of insight, and the passion they have for their community and our country’s future.
This is a new generation that’s engaged on a huge a range of topics from politics and the environment, to social justice and world affairs.
It’s a generation that is open minded and committed to a better future. And to that end, they won’t let people like me rest on our laurels, and that’s the way it should be.
So let us look towards 2019 with hope and a justified belief that, while we may live in challenging times, these challenges will continue to bring out the very best in us.